Tuesday January 28, 2020
Home Environment Historic Agre...

Historic Agreement between Gabon and Norway Seeking to Ensure it Stays that Way

A historic agreement between Gabon and Norway is seeking to ensure it stays that way

0
//
Historic, Agreement, Gabon
Gabon, which is covered nearly entirely by rainforest, is one of few places on Earth where a primary tropical rainforest extends all the way to the beach. VOA

Gabon is one of the greenest countries in the world, with 88 percent of its land covered by forest. A historic agreement between Gabon and Norway is seeking to ensure it stays that way.

Through the U.N.-backed Central African Forest Initiative (CAFI), Norway will pay Gabon up to $150 million over 10 years in exchange for Gabon reducing its carbon emissions and to give value to the forests’ role in absorbing carbon dioxide.

In an interview with Voice of America, Lee White, Gabon’s Minister of Forests, said the agreement is groundbreaking because it is making it nearly as valuable for countries to preserve forests as to chop them down. “In all of the deals we’ve seen over the years, forest carbon has been worth $5 a ton. And in this one, subject to meeting best practice, they’ve gone to $10. So overnight we doubled the price of forest carbon. It gives a lot of hope to all the other forest nations,” he said.

In a statement, CAFI said the deal will allow Gabon to achieve its goal of preserving 98 percent of its existing rainforest for the future. Across Central Africa, forests store as much as 70 billion tons of carbon which is equal to 5 to 10 years of global greenhouse gas emissions, CAFI said. The African forest is the second-largest rainforest in the world, sometimes called “Earth’s second lung”

Historic, Agreement, Gabon
Gabon is one of the greenest countries in the world, with 88 percent of its land covered by forest. Pixabay

White said the agreement is part of a larger effort by Gabon to preserve its forests. Ten years ago, the country made headlines by announcing an end to raw timber exports. Although logging continues for processed wood products and domestic use, it is done in a sustainable way, White said.

“We’ve doubled the number of forestry jobs and we’re opening new processing plants pretty much every month. And so that measure is starting to pay off. And what we’re finding is that we can make more money and create more jobs by exploiting less,” he said.

He added that this is a strong reversal of centuries of exploitation of natural resources on the African continent by Europeans.

Also Read- Google Brings Android 10 with Better Encryption, Faster Interface

“If you look at the history of the continent it’s been about ripping out cheap natural resources and sending it to other parts of the world to develop,” White said. “So Africa fueled the Industrial Revolution. Africa has fueled part of China’s rise and in economic terms. And so the first component of it is to make the use of our natural resources indigenous to transform things locally.” (VOA)

Next Story

World Health Organization: “Historic Step” towards Polio-Free World

Global polio cases have been cut by more than 99% since 1988, but type 1 polio virus is still endemic in Pakistan and Afghanistan

0
World, Health, Historic
Afghan women wearing burqas from a polio immunization team walk together during a vaccination campaign in Kandahar, Oct. 15, 2019. Polio immunization is compulsory in Afghanistan, but distrust of vaccines is rife. VOA

The World Health Organization welcomed an “historic step” towards a polio-free world on Thursday as an expert panel certified that the second of three types of the crippling virus has been eradicated globally.

The announcement by the Global Commission for the Certification of Poliomyelitis Eradication means that only wild polio virus type 1 is still circulating, after type 2 was declared eradicated in 2015, and type 3 this week.

Global polio cases have been cut by more than 99% since 1988, but type 1 polio virus is still endemic in Pakistan and Afghanistan, where it has infected a total of 88 people this year. That is a resurgence from a record low global annual figure of 22 cases in 2017.

“The eradication of wild polio virus type 3 is a major milestone towards a polio-free world, but we cannot relax,” said Matshidiso Moeti, the WHO regional director for Africa.

World, Health, Historic
The announcement by the Global Commission for the Certification of Poliomyelitis Eradication means that only wild polio virus type 1 is still circulating, after type 2 was declared eradicated. Pixabay

Seth Berkley, chief executive of the GAVI vaccine alliance, said it was “a tremendous victory in the fight against polio.”

Polio invades the nervous system and can cause irreversible paralysis within hours. It cannot be cured, but infection can be prevented by vaccination – and a dramatic reduction in cases worldwide in recent decades has been due to intense national and regional immunization campaigns in babies and children.

In unvaccinated populations, however, polio viruses can re emerge and spread swiftly. Cases of vaccine-derived polio can also occur in places where immunity is low and sanitation is poor, as vaccinated people can excrete the virus, putting the unvaccinated at risk.

The Philippines last month said it was planning an emergency vaccination campaign after polio re-surfaced and caused the first two recorded polio cases there for 20 years.

Also Read- Strange Little Lemur Native to Madagascar Boasts One of the Most Unusual Hands in Animal Kingdom

Moeti urged governments to be vigilant: “Countries must strengthen routine immunization to protect communities, ramp up routine surveillance so that we are able to detect even the slightest risk of polio re-emerging,” she said in a statement. (VOA)